Friday, September 20th, 2013 The Kingston Daily Freeman
Serving the Hudson Valley since 1871
Nina Hennessey’s WITH A SONG Simply Brilliant
ALBUM: “With A Song”
Nina Hennessey is a Broadway star, having appeared in “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Cats,” “Dreamgirls” and “Chess,” but certainly has plenty to say on her own.
“With a Song,” an impressive recording, includes Don Rebic (keyboards, MD) Jeff Ganz (bass) Sean Harkness (guitars) and drum master Ray Marchica.
In this album, she can belt with the best of them, but she can also dig deep into the heart of a song, with emotion as well as impeccable technique. Fittingly, this starts out with just her voice, beginning, “Sometimes I’m Happy” from “Hit The Deck” with perfect intonation and playful phrasing, and by the time the last chorus comes around, you can almost see her high kick on the 2 and 4 with her outstretched arms.
Then she just keeps dazzlingly, from simmering “Girl Talk” (Harlow), big soaring notes in “It Ain’t Necessarily So” (Porgy and Bess), and a gorgeous run through Rogers & Hart’s “Falling In Love with Love.”
The powerful “Willow Weep For Me” holds a haunting arrangement featuring Ganz’ fluid playing that gives Hennessey the space to really shine. Other highlights are the high-energy “Lover,” the lovely “A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square” and the jaw-dropping “A Quiet Thing” (Flora the Red Menace), where her perfect tone is pure pleasure.
“With A Song” is simply brilliant, with timeless singing from a world-class vocalist, and Maddy Ruff’s mom.
David Malachowski is a guitarist, producer and freelance journalist.